Monday, March 29, 2010

Not really a book review

Since I started blogging I've read and reviewed about a dozen or so books and when I went back to Dublin in March, I picked another twenty eight books to carry on this almost worthy tradition.
Some of this number have been quite excellent, while others have been quite ordinary, but to varying degrees they have all been readable. However the same can NOT be said for "Vatican Bloodbath".

When I saw this book and its companion "Whips and Furs, my life by Jesus Christ", I thought oh yes, this is gonna be hystercial. The Vatican and the British Royal family fighting it out in a drug war.


After ten pages and five aborted attempts I finally gave up on trying to read this, this...err.. book. It's as if it was written by a ten year old boy who thinks that poor grammar, spelling and total lack of ... Arrhhhhh......... I am at a loss to describe how disappointed and angry I am with this book, I really wanted to like this one but swearing every fifth word made this impossible to read.
Now don't get me wrong, I have no problem with swearing and if I may be so bold, I am rather skilled in the field of profanity. But like a knight in the Middle Ages, I only draw my weapon at times of danger and not shortly after tea time.

Is it possible that I am just too old to enjoy this book?
Nah...its just Mother F**king Crap.

Is this really a sport

Last Wednesday and the Monday before that, I passed an hour or two in Tallinn's favourite (and only) Irish bar, throwing darts against a wall. Off course the darts should have been landing in the dart board, but to be brutally honest I am quite dreadful at darts, or perhaps I should say, Brutal.

Anyway I enrolled in a darts tournament

China Day

On Saturday Una and I celebrated "China Day". As far as I'm aware there actually isn't anything called "China Day", but as it was the weekend and a weekend when I wasn't working I might add, we decided to make something out of it.
The day got underway by watching Chinese cartoons, commercials and pop videos.

After that we settled down for a lunch of noodles and spring rolls with soy sauce. As we didn't have a table with six centimetre high legs, we took out a desk drawer, spun it upside down and hey-presto, we had a Chinese style table.

Having spent three or four exhausting minutes searching on the internet we both adopted Chinese names for the day. I become Chuang and Una was Li-Ming.
As we headed out the cinema that evening the smell of Chinese candles were still filling the room and the chop sticks that I had flung to one side lay on the ground after I had thrown them away in frustration during our dinner of sweet and Sour chicken before resorting to a fork.

Arriving at the cinema I ran into a couple of the Chinese dragons. For those of you who aren't that familiar with my blog, the Chinese dragons was the name of a football team that I use to play for, but that's another story.
The films itself was set in Japanese occupied China during World War II, where the Japs had invited a group of people together, believing one of them to be a spy. Now, there was every chance that this film was going to contain scenes that weren't suitable for children, such as torture, which off course there was. However this being a free movie some people had brought their kids with them.
Oh Boy!
Now that was a mistake.
The film was entertaining and somewhat confusing, but that's what China day is all about.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Museum of Occupations

There is a museum in Talliinn which is unlike any other museum I have visited. In comparison to the Le musée de l'Armée in Paris or the Imperial War Museum in London, this may seem a like a minor affair, being no larger than three or four houses. But what makes this place so unique and worth visiting is that unlike its grander colleagues whose walls relate stories of military aggression or at the very least an equal struggle of arms and men, this building tells the story of an oppressed people, of a nation that has known little of personal or political freedom in the twentieth century having been occupied and terrorized by the Tzar, the Nazi's and then Stalin's Red army. The displays are somewhat limited as the financing for this enterprise presumably isn't available to do this story justice. But the displays of the German WWII uniforms, newspapers that tell the story of Estonia's liberation by Hitler's forces and hopes of freedom that were quickly crushed as one tyrant simply replaced another. When World War II ended, it wasn't just Germany that had lost but also the peoples of three Baltic countries, Czechoslovakia, Romania and all the other countries that fell on the wrong side of the Iron Curtain. Estonia has only been free since 1991 and to a large degree still lives under the shadow of Russia. For those of you that get to the Museum of Occupations, try visiting Kilmaniham jail and remember how another small country was oppressed by its more powerful neighbour.

Monday, March 22, 2010

St. Paddy's Day at the Embassy

Wednesday was my first Saint Patrick's day out of Ireland since I moved to Ireland, which was way way back before the Celtic tiger, in fact it was so far back I'm not sure if Ireland was even Celtic at the time.
But I digress.
Even though Saint Patrick's day in Tallinn didn't have parading bands, screaming cheerleaders and floats designed by stoned art students from Trinity, we still celebrated in the time honoured Irish way.
Yep, drinking vast quantities of alcohol.

However this was not your typical session, for alongside Una, I and the other forty one members of the Irish community in Tallinn were invited to the Irish Ambassadors residence. There salmon, cheese, soda bread and other foodstuff flown in from Ireland two days earlier alongside nine types of Irish whiskeys and off course the black stuff.
After a couple of hours we left and went to Molly Malone's bar to watch some impromptu Irish dancing and an Estonian band singing "The Fields of Athenry", "Whiskey in the jar" and other tunes at a tempo that would have made Phil Lynott's head spin. Oh yes and there was some crazy looking banshee playing the fiddle and wow, could she play.

Just When I thought it was over.....

Saturday morning started out like any typical work day as I carefully made my way through the snow and around the ice, when I spotted something I hadn’t seen in Estonia since November.
Yes I know that this may sound like an odd thing to be talking about, but it was a big deal at the time. It was that yellowish colour your face turns after an excessive night on the beer, but at least it was there. For the last week or so temperatures have risen slightly, up to minus two, or zero degrees. Large icicles were slowly melting, cars that have literally been buried in snow for endless weeks started to re-emerge as if from hibernation and then finally, there it was, grass, winter was OVER.

The snow had receded just enough to expose this first sign of spring and more importantly the end of the longest winter in history, at least in the history of James Lynch. Folks it’s been snowing here almost non stop since November, in fact when I was in Ireland last month I found myself stopping and stare at the old green green grass of home as if it was some forgotten memory, which off course it was.

Yet just when I thought winter was finally over, the snows returned and the grass was once again lost. Last year I positively loved the stuff, I couldn’t get enough of it. I was the kid in the proverbial sweet shop and the snow...., well you get the idea.
But now, that thing of joy has become a mere white wet sandy substance that I have to trudge through and hope that it’s not hiding a patch of ice just waiting to send me flying on my arse.
And now its Monday evening, the snow and ice that Una and I worked so hard to clear away from the front of ice back and its everywhere once again. The only thing that’s keeping me sane is the hope that a really bad winter means that we’ll have a hot hot summer.
I’ll let you know in June.